Idina Menzel performs during the Dramatists Guild Fifth Annual Benefit Dinner at the Hudson Theater May 10, 2004 in New York City.
The Tony Award-winning star of "Wicked" and "Rent" and the hit Disney animated film "Frozen," is now starring in a new musical on Broadway, "If/Then."
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Idina Menzel was raised on Long Island, New York, the daughter of a therapist and a pajama salesman. She sang at weddings and bar mitzvahs before she earned her first professional acting job, at 25, for the rock musical "Rent."
"I feel like I had more confidence when I was younger," she told CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith, but adds that she has gotten courage from the characters she's played.
"I get strength from these stories that I've been in. 'Wicked' was all about harnessing this power, knowing that this beautiful green person needed to accept who she was. Same thing with Elsa in 'Frozen.' These girls that have these incredible powers and beautiful artistry, and once they relinquish everything and just kind of give into it all, they become these goddesses."
"And like Elizabeth from 'If/Then,' same thing," said Menzel. "She's starting her life over after a bad marriage, and coming back to New York City and she has enough belief in herself that she thinks she can start over and make new choices and change her destiny. That takes courage to do that.
"So that's why I'm just so proud to have those characters in a body of work, to know that they also help younger women, younger boys, everyone, with their own self-esteem."
And no one, she told Smith, benefits from lessons in self-esteem more than herself.
Left: "Rent" cast members Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp reunited in the new Broadway musical, "If/Then," to sing "Some Other Me."
"Rent"Idina's first professional job beyond singing at weddings was in the rock musical "Rent" (1996), playing Maureen. She received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and recreated her role for the 2005 film (left).
"Rent"Several of the play's original cast members, including Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, reprised their roles in the 2005 film version, directed by Christopher Columbus.
Menzel and DiggsTaye Diggs and Idina Menzel are photographed on August 28, 2002 in New York City. The two met while on "Rent" and later married. The two parents of a four-year-old separated in 2013.
"Wicked"Idina Menzel from the cast of "Wicked" appears at the 12th Annual Broadway On Broadway free concert sponsored by Toys "R" Us in Times Square September 7, 2003 in New York City.
"Wicked"Singer/actress Idina Menzel of "Wicked" performs on stage during the 58th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 6, 2004 in New York City.
"Wicked"Idina Menzel ("Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West"), Joel Grey ("The Wizard") and Kristin Chenoweth ("Glinda the Good") pose together at the after-party for the Broadway premiere of "Wicked," at Tavern On The Green, October 30, 2003 in New York City.
Tony AwardsTony Award-winners Idina Menzel ("Wicked") and Hugh Jackman ("The Boy From Oz") pose backstage at the 58th Annual Tony Awards, at Radio City Music Hall, June 6, 2004 in New York City.
"Rent"Idina Menzel in the film version of "Rent."
"Rent"Idina Menzel in the film version of "Rent."
"Rent"Actress Idina Menzel arrives for the premiere of the movie "Rent" at the Ziegfeld Theater on November 17, 2005 in New York City.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDSActress Idina Menzel from the movie "Rent" performs during "Broadway For Life," to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in Bryant Park, August 4, 2005 in New York City.
Tony AwardsIdina Menzel attends the 59th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall June 5, 2005 in New York City.
"Ask the Dust"Actors Salma Hayek and Idina Menzel arrive for the premiere of Robert Towne's "Ask The Dust," at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on March 9, 2006 in New York City.
"Enchanted"Idina Menzel played fashion designer Nancy Tremaine in the Disney romantic comedy "Enchanted" (2007), which - despite being a musical, with songs by lyricist Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked") - required no singing from Menzel.
"Enchanted"Actors Idina Menzel and Amy Adams pose at the world premiere of "Enchanted," at the El Capitan Theatre on November 17,2007 in Hollywood, Calif.
Guest star Idina Menzel as Shelby and Lea Michele as Rachel performed a mother-daughter duet of "I Dreamed a Dream," in a first-season episode of "Glee" (2010), directed by Joss Whedon.
"Trevor Live"Actress/recording artist Idina Menzel performs during The Trevor Project's annual "Trevor Live" show at The Hollywood Palladium on December 5, 2010 in Hollywood, Calif.
"Frozen"Idina Menzel performs songs from "Frozen," accompanied by a live orchestra conducted by David Metzger, at the Vibrato Grill Jazz Club, February 9, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Academy AwardsSinger Idina Menzel attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.
Academy AwardsIdina Menzel on the red carpet at the Oscars, at Hollywood & Highland Center, March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.
Singer Idina Menzel performs "Let It Go," nominated for Best Original Song, during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.
"I literally for weeks, had been working on the song 'cause it's really an acrobatic, difficult song," Menzel said. "I can't just wake up in the morning, go out, and sing it in front of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, you know what I mean? Like, I have to train and work on it."
As Idina Menzel waited to take the stage at the Oscars, she was introduced by John Travolta as "the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem."
"For a split second, I felt sorry for myself, like, 'Awwww,'" Menzel told Tracy Smith. "And then I quickly said, 'Get your ego out of this. You're at the Oscars. Who the hell cares. You know, sing the song like you know how to sing it.'
"And what if it all happened, but I had totally caved and didn't do a good job? Then it would've been a different fiasco. So at least I was able to come through and end really strong.
"And you know, Adele Dazeem, or whoever I am, is actually a really good singer, you know?"The gaffe went viral, giving Menzel a new measure of fame, and a wider audience the chance to discover what her fans knew all along.
Menzel, Fallon and the RootsAnother viral interpretation of "Let It Go," performed on classroom instruments by Idina Menzel, Jimmy Fallon and the band The Roots on "The Tonight Show."
"If/Then"Jerry Dixon, James Snyder, Idina Menzel, LaChanze and Anthony Rapp attend the "If/Then" Broadway opening night curtain call, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 30, 2014 in New York City.
For more info:
"If/Then" (Official site)
"If/Then" original cast album available for pre-order on Amazon